Thursday, February 11, 2010

ICA, Boston

At about 1:30 today, I received a phone call from my manager at work asking if I'd like the night off.  My initial instinct was that I should work, but then as I thought about it for a second, my sense of adventure began to get the better of me... and I need to clean my kitchen too!  Anyhow, inspired by the beautiful crisp day outside, I set out to the Institute of Contemporary Art here in Boston.  I had been putting off making it there for a visit for far too long, and given this unexpected free evening with no plans, it seemed an obvious choice for a way to spend my afternoon.

I arrived there and bought my ticket for general admission.  The guy at the front desk let me know that the main gallery was being renovated and as a result, they were offering free admission after the 19th through the 21st of March with the ticket that I purchased today.  WIN!  I will definitely plan on heading back in a couple of weeks with my two-fer ticket that I bought today.  He stressed to me that there would be a lot more to see when I returned.  I got the feeling that what I saw today was a very small part of the collection indeed, but it was a rewarding experience nonetheless.  In truth, it was nice to be able to pop in and out and not feel as though I had missed a substantial part of what there was to see.

My first stop was an installation by Krzysztof Wodiczko called Out of Here: The Veteran's Project.  It was basically a dark room with basement window projections on the wall near the ceiling.  A soundtrack of an engagement of war played in the room and made you feel as though you were hearing what was going on just outside your own window.  It was eerie and powerful and made me question the validity of war.  It was a shocking and visceral first impression of what the ICA has to offer.

While I wandered about the other galleries, I took advantage of their "call-in" free tour.  It's a really cool service that connects you to an audio tour via your cell phone.  You simply dial up the number they give you and you can select various audio clips to play that correspond with the numbers on the placards next to the pieces on display.  What a cool concept!  Much of the commentary is offered by the artists themselves and I found it very helpful in attempting to understand some of the more abstracted works.

Though walking through the rest of the gallery wasn't nearly as emotionally stirring as the Wodiczko installment, I did see some thought provoking things in the rest of the ICA.  I especially liked Cindy Sherman's photography, the mobile by Cornelia Parker, and the sculptures of Tara Donovan.  I felt challenged by these artists to question the meaning of art.  Donovan, who used everyday objects like scotch tape and straight pins to create her works, especially made me think that I should look for beauty and form in everyday life.  I took a couple of photos on my trip home with this in mind.  I will share them here with you.
This certainly was an inspiring day of art, and my lunch at the museum cafe wasn't half bad either.  It makes me think I should invest in another membership.  From investigating their website it seems as though there are plenty of fun and interesting things coming up, and visiting the ICA is a great excuse to see Boston's beautiful waterfront.  I hope my little trip there today and my post about it here will inspire you to seek out beauty in your everyday life too.  Please share your thoughts with me below!

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